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The University of Southampton

ARTD3036 Design Futures

Module Overview

This module will advance your knowledge and critical understanding of current debates that inform theoretical and practical approaches to design and their applicability in the creative industries. You will be encouraged to think, discuss and write critically at an advanced level about a variety of issues concerning design and the creative industries, including: collaborative and environmental practices, material and economic sustainability, consumption, social enterprise, and corporate social responsibility. Additionally, it will deepen your awareness and critical understanding of a range of ethical issues and sensitivities associated with critical and cultural matters of difference (such as gender, social class, ethnicity, and age) and their relevance to design practice, design communication and design consumption. Finally the module will encourage students to reflect upon the impact of relevant theories and practices in local and global contexts.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • a range of theoretical concepts relevant to ethics in the creative arts and design contexts, with critical applications to social, economic and environmental issues related to the creative industries;
  • competing contexts, issues and debates relating to environmental issues, social and cultural communities, social enterprise and sustainability, within local and global economies;
  • varied practices, materials and technologies for idea generation and concept development applicable to responsible design and creative practice;
  • practices that are responsible in regards to communicating such issues to a wide audience (ie. through filmmaking, campaigning and activism).
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify central themes and problematics in contemporary creative arts and design contexts. Students of practice-led programmes will be able to associate those with their studio practice;
  • make informed decisions regarding working practices and justify those decisions;
  • demonstrate a depth of critical and analytical thinking in relation to ethical and sustainable theories and related practices;
  • analyse and evaluate theoretical perspectives on topics such as identity, consumption, organic practices and globalisation, and consider strategies that attempt to address their impact and influence;
  • critically evaluate complex problems and apply reasoned thinking and ideas to proposed outcomes or design solutions;
  • present and debate an advanced understanding of communication strategies related to varied practices in the creative arts and design contexts.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • articulate complex ideas and information through a variety of oral, written and presentation formats;
  • effectively manage own workload, meet deadlines and work independently;
  • demonstrate interpersonal skills and interact effectively with peers and tutors through discussion and negotiation;
  • present the outcome of your research in a seminar context.


This module builds on your extended knowledge gained from Introduction to Design Futures module in level 2 and extends the opportunities for you to critically analyse, debate and address key current issues and debates associated with design as they relate to your discipline-specific practice. The module is designed to challenge and develop your ability to critically reflect upon competing concepts and contemporary debates associated with design and related creative practices, as well as their impact within local and global contexts. You will extend your knowledge on such issues as environmental practices and eco-design, social, economic and material sustainability corporate social responsibility (CSR), as well as communication for social change. The critical perspectives addressed in this module are viewed from the point of view of the practitioner, but also from a theoretical standpoint. The skills offered by this module also underpin in design that is industry aware and ethically focused.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will learn through a range of learning activities such as: Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Seminars • Tutorials Learning Activities • Lectures • Tutorials • Contributions to group discussions • Online research and reading • Peer group learning Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes This module’s learning and teaching methods are designed to challenge you and help you broaden your critical understanding of a range of key issues associated with current design theories and practices to enable you to explore them further as part of your subject-specific practice. In this module, learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to investigate, question and analyse different perspectives on design and associated creative practices, including design communication, as well as issues related to design consumption. You will be encouraged to consider how these issues influence your own creative work and your study discipline. Feedback on your progress and development will be given by group discussions, seminars and workshops. Informal feedback will provide opportunities for peer group learning and self-evaluation. The formal assessment will be a 3000 word, illustrated essay, to consist of 3000 words plus a minimum of 10 Harvard referenced illustrations, (equal to 500 words) that locates your own ideas within the contexts discussed in the course. The Student-led sessions are intended to extend debate around material from lectures and seminars. These sessions, in combination with tutorials, allow you to develop your understanding of the knowledge and methods you have explored in this module. They also help you to evaluate your thinking, practical and transferable skills.

Wider reading or practice16
Follow-up work16
Completion of assessment task20
Project supervision4
Preparation for scheduled sessions64
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list




Essay proposal


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: ARTD2043


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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